Tag Archives: Canon

Vintage Minolta MD/MC mount lenses on Canon EOS EF mount?

I made a huge discovery this Christmas! The video tripod post will have to wait a bit, as I just had to get this off my chest. When I was visiting my folks, I remembered that my dad used to be into SLR photography back in the film days. He had an old Minolta camera, probably an SRT101 or a similar model, I can’t remember. My granddad also had the same camera and when he passed away 15 years ago, dad inherited all his camera gear. All that gear has just been sitting in my parents’ attic, gathering dust and while the camera body was a goner, the lenses looked just fine! There was 10 manual focus Minolta MD

and MC mount lenses just waiting for me to play with them…woohoo!! There’s lots of talk over on cinema5D about how awesome vintage lenses are, because they are cheap and sharp and designed to be focussed manually, unlike modern AF lenses. There were a fast nifty fifty (the Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 55/1.7), a tele prime (The Tokina 200/3.5) two tele zooms (The Hanimex 55-220/3.5-4.5 and the Beroflex 80-210), a wide-angle prime (The Admiral G.M.C. 28/2.5), a wide-angle zoom (The Samyang 18-28/4-4.5) and a macro zoom (The Sigma 35-70/2.8-4). All I needed was a cheap adapter ring off eBay and I’d be ready to go! Or so I thought…

After my initial giddiness, I had a closer look and noticed that some of the lenses were beyond hope…they’d been completely scratched into oblivion. I still had 7 lenses left though, that appeared free of any major scratches or other blemishes, which, for the price of $0 was still an awesome find! Upon my arrival back in Melbourne, I started doing some research into MD mount lenses and how they work with Canon’s EF mount. The result was quite sobering, as the general consensus among vintage lens enthusiasts in this regard was ‘not very well’.

The lenses usually favoured by said enthusiasts come with M42 mount, which is easily adapted with a $10 adapter ring. It turns out, however, that the Minolta mount is a slightly different story. I still don’t understand why they don’t work as well, but it’s something to do with the  distance between the lens elements and the focal plane. Essentially, MC/MD mount lenses are too far away from the focal plane and therefore won’t focus to infinity, even with an adapter ring. This means that unless all you shoot is macro, you’re in for a bit of trouble!

Luckily, there is an alternative in the form of an optical adapter. Optical because they contain an optical element (like a lens) to make up for the difference in length…I think. Feel free to correct me here, as I’m still new to this whole thing. The reason why this type of adapter is not ideal is because it (supposedly) deteriorates the image quality, since you are effectively adding more lens elements of inferior quality to the mix. Kind of like wearing glasses under your sunglasses?

I ordered both types of adapters from eBay and they’re in transit. As soon as I’ll get them, I’ll do some test shots and will post them here.


The Canon 60D for beginner film-making (vs. the 7D, D7000 and the 550D/T2i)

I often see people on forums asking which camera they should get to shoot video with. I’ve also asked myself this question a few times and it’s quite difficult to say which camera is most suitable for someone starting out in HDSLR film-making. They are all great cameras and will do the job well, each with its own strengths and limitations.

HDSLR video is something I’m very excited about. If I hadn’t been interested in video and simply wanted to take pictures, the D7000 would have been the natural choice, seeing that I already own a couple of Nikon lenses. It sits between the 60D and 7D in terms of pretty much anything. It’s possibly even the better stills camera than the 7D if you’re not into sports/wildlife photography. I’m not. I mostly do portraits, plants/fungi, food, the odd landscape and am interested in getting into macro work as well. Obviously, general travel photography will be one of the main priorities as well.

If Nikon updated the firmware of the D7K to include 25p/30p@1080p and 50/60p@720p like the Canons then this would again be a no-brainer. Alas, I’m not too hopeful there. Also, pricing in Australia looks also fairly ridiculous at the moment (but those prices are expected to fall after the holidays). Although some of the test footage that I’ve seen looks very impressive, especially the low-light stuff, frame-rates other than 24p are pretty important. It does have AF, but from what I can gather, a lot of work is needed in the implementation there and that anyone who is serious about their shooting is doing it manually anyway.

Which brings me to the Canons.

The 550D, 60D and the 7D all essentially have the same sensor (18MP APS-C sensor, with some very minor differences) and pretty much the same settings when it comes to video: the same frame rates, resolutions and video quality. So why not just get the cheapest?

Well, I was pretty much set on the 550D until I actually picked one up in a shop. It felt really plasticky and toy-like, even though it is a serious camera, capable of producing amazing results. I was used to a Nikon D70, a nice, heavy camera that feels right in the hand and has a top LCD that always displays the settings you have dialled in. The 550D doesn’t have one, though, and also it lacks the important wheel at the back that lets you dial in exposure compensation and other useful goodies. These may seem like small complaints (weight, LCD and back dial) but they were crucial to me, YMMV.

The 7D has things all those things and more, like 8fps, a super-sturdy magnesium-alloy body and micro AF adjust which I doubt I’ll ever need, but it’s built like a tank and will probably suffer any kind of abuse I’d throw at it. It’s rather exxy though (A$1.4K grey, A$1.9K local), plus it doesn’t let you adjust the gain of the (abysmal) internal or even the external mic.

The 60D, on the other hand, does pretty much everything I need in a HDSLR (except FF, but that’s out of the question financially anyways) and appeals because of its still relatively low price (less than A$1K grey, and about A$1.4K local) and some nice video features like the swivel screen and adjustable audio gain. It also feels nice, although not as nice as the 7D and the D7K probably will feel.

So for all these reasons, I think that 60D is an excellent camera. It feels great in your hand and is nicely balanced with a slightly heavier lens (like the Sigma 30mm/f1.4), has some very nifty features, such as the swivel screen, top LCD, back dial and adjustable audio gain and it’s still affordable. Personally, I think you can’t go wrong with it.

Cheers,

Guido